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Cablegate: Inl Acting Assistant Secretary Nancy Powell - May

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
(INL) Acting Assistant Secretary Nancy Powell traveled to
Bucharest May 10-11 for meetings at the Southeast European
Cooperative Initiative (SECI) Center and to discuss INL
regional and bilateral programs and issues with key Romanian
officials. Romanian President Traian Basescu underscored
continued Romanian commitment to SECI Center and expressed
strong appreciation for USG support over the years. Deputy
Interior Minister Florin Sandu similarly emphasized the
importance of SECI Center's regional role and the value of
USG continued support of the work of SECI. End Summary.

SECI Welcomes AA/S Powell
2. SECI Center Acting Director General Alexandrou Ionas
welcomed AA/S Powell May 10 on her first visit to SECI
Center. SECI is a twelve member state organization, with
police and customs representatives assigned from each. In
addition to acting as an information sharing center on
current cases, a series of operational task forces develop
new cases in transborder crime. Ionas expressed firm
appreciation for the support the U.S. had provided SECI over
the years, including the recent funding of the financial
crime task force. That task force had been dormant for
several years and now is being reactivated with the
assistance of the Secret Service and the Italian Financial
Police and the posting of an INL officer at the Center to
coordinate assistance funds.

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3. In the overview of SECI programs, General Ionas detailed
a recent case in which a Moldovan trafficking witness, who
was forced to testify a second time by a Macedonian court,
did so via video teleconferencing from Moldova. The
equipment was purchased by the FBI liaison at SECI and was
coordinated through the Macedonian and Moldovan officers
posted to the SECI Center. This video testimony was the
first of its kind in the region, supported by recently
enacted laws in both Moldova and Macedonia which made the
testimony possible by not requiring the victim to travel to
the location of the court that is hearing the case. AA/S
Powell congratulated the SECI Center on this operation and
expressed her hope that future opportunities would allow
this and other technological advances to be utilized in
transborder crime issues.

4. AA/S Powell was also briefed on the possible role of
SECI in a larger Black Sea Security Initiative and how that
role could expand in cooperating with the Black Sea Economic
Cooperative (BSEC) Organization. General Ionas pointed out
that threats in the Black Sea region will come from non-
state actors with associations to organized crime. He
demonstrated that SECI is well equipped to assist in the
fight against organized crime, not only in the Balkans but
in the Black Sea region. He based that conclusion on the
fact that a majority of SECI states are also members of
BSEC, thereby facilitating cooperation between the two

5. AA/S Powell also received a detailed briefing on the
work of the Southeast Europe Prosecutor's Advisory Group
(SEEPAG) and how their work is directly linked with that of
the SECI Center. Ionas concluded the briefing with a tour
of the headquarters, which is located in a section of the
Palace of the Parliament, which had been originally
constructed by former dictator Nicolai Ceasescu.

6. In her comments, AA/S Powell praised the recent
successes in human trafficking convictions and emphasized
the importance of targeting human trafficking in the region,
the reactivation of the financial crime task force, since
this has proven to be an effective tool in combating
organized crime, and the plans of involving SECI in the
Black Sea Security Initiative. She further expressed her
pleasure that SECI has done so much in the fight against
transborder crime in only four years of operation. Finally,
she said it was important for SECI to reach out to EU
institutions as the date for EU accession approaches.

President Basescu: Thank You for Your Support
7. During the Southeast Europe Cooperative Process (SEECP)
meeting being hosted in Bucharest, the heads of government
of all Southeast European Countries took the time to visit
the SECI Center on May 11. AA/S Powell had the opportunity
to meet Romanian President Traian Basescu as well as Special
Coordinator of Stability Pact (SCSP) Ehrhard Busek. She
also exchanged greetings with UNMIK Deputy Special
Representative of UN Secretary General (DSRSG) Larry Rossin,
and spoke briefly with him about SECI's role in building
stability in the region by targeting organized crime. In a
brief exchange, Basescu thanked AA/S Powell for the firm
support of the SECI Center and commented later to SECI
Acting Director Ionas that US support is critical for SECI
to build on its current successes such as the recent
February arrests of human traffickers. Finally, Busek
pointed out the importance of resources devoted to SECI to
remain at SECI. He recognized the importance of other
regional initiatives such as GUAM but argued they should not
divert SECI resources.

Deputy Interior Minister Sandu Appreciative of INL Programs
--------------------------------------------- -------------
8. In a meeting with Deputy Interior Minister Florin Sandu
AA/S Powell was thanked for the INL bilateral programs
initiated and coordinated through Post. Sandu emphasized
the programs in anti-trafficking, cyber crime and anti-
narcotics as examples of highly successful programs that
have produced visible results. Additionally, the
International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) was cited as a
vital program not only for Romania but for the entire
region. Sadu pointed out that over two hundred Romanians
have graduated from ILEA and AA/S Powell added that many of
those two hundred Romanians graduated at the top of their
class. Deputy Minister Sandu then thanked AA/S Powell for
support and INL leadership with the SECI Center. He stated
that SECI fills a gap in regional law enforcement which
could not be filled by INTERPOL or EUROPOL. He added that
he would like to see SECI's role expand to risk analysis in
the transborder crime arena, going beyond these first steps
of information sharing between police and customs officers
in the region. He pointed out that SECI has the advantage
of having customs as well as police assets. This he viewed
as a force multiplier in combating fraud cases.

9. Acting Assistant Secretary Powell cleared this cable.

10. AmEmbassy Bucharest's Reporting telegrams, as well as
daily press summaries, are available on the Bucharest
SIPRNet website: www.state.sgov/gov/p/eur/bucharest.


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